A natural disaster can bring a brutal aftermath and people often get caught unprepared. Damaged water mains and downed power lines are often common results of Mother Nature’s fury. The lack of proper sanitation requires your immediate attention and resolution. Stockpiling the following supplies will make your life easier when having to deal with the proverbial brown stuff that will eventually hit the fan.
As the garbage is piling up and the human waste is accumulating in underground pipes, you need to find solutions and you need them fast. You can’t wait for the utility trucks or other recovery crews, because there’s no telling when they will arrive. The spread of germs and bacteria can kill just as easily as any other aftermath of the disaster.
I feel that the topic of sanitation in a grid-down situation is still pretty much neglected by many preppers. Although it should be a straightforward topic, some people still don’t want to think about handling and disposing of trash and human waste when it hits the fan. Minimizing the spread of germs and bacteria should be a priority in your preparedness plan. I still don’t understand why people ignore this topic and they wait to see “how things will turn out”.
Since they never had to live without running water, electricity or a functioning sewer, they think this scenario would never happen and it’s not a priority such as storing food and water. Or maybe, since this is not a fun topic to discuss, they prefer to concentrate on other chores or prepping plans. Regardless the reason behind this, survival sanitation is crucial to your health and well-being.
How to start with off the grid sanitation
Here are my suggestions to deal with this topic and include sanitation in your prepping plans. As you will see, it’s pretty simple to deal with this as long as you prepare in advance and pay attention to details.
Make a sustainable plan and get supplies for disposing of human waste and garbage. Think about various scenarios such as bugging out or hunkering down.
Learn about how you can stay clean and keep a proper hygiene with small amounts of water.
Keep large amounts of disposable products for a long-term survival scenario. This includes everything from plastic plates to toilet paper and paper towels.
Learn how to disinfect water using various methods and keep generous supplies at hand. All water is considered unsafe in a survival scenario until it has been disinfected.
Make a plan to keep garbage containers as far as possible from your living areas to avoid food and water contamination but also to prevent the spread of bacteria. Establish a garbage disposal area in advance as you might not have the time to figure this out when more pressing matters need solving.
Have a plan for all those in your group that might require medical supplies or proper treating (if they suffer from pre-existing conditions, their needs may differ from yours).
Meal prepping is required and you should be able to plan your meals based on available resources. Heat and eat is the way to go and the foods that provide you with the proper calorie intake in one serving should be eaten first. Avoid anything that requires cooking until you are able to harvest water. By doing so, you will minimize cleanup and waste and you won’t have to worry about rodents and other pests.
Basic sanitation supplies to stockpile
Emergency preparedness is about gathering the proper survival knowledge and learning the skills you need to survive. However, it is important to have the right supplies to make your life easier and make your situation much more manageable. There’s a solution for everything, so why should you suffer?
Adjust your prepping plans to include the following supplies and store more than you anticipate needing for keeping a proper sanitation.
Five-gallon plastic buckets with sealable lids
These can be used for storing and hauling trash, but also to make an improvised toilet. Even more, you can use them with portable commode for better comfort.
Plastic bottles or containers and funnels
Keep plastic containers which are safe for storing water at hand. You will need them to collect water or other liquids. A funnel or two will also come in handy and you won’t have to worry about wasting precious liquid.
There are all sorts of high capacity water filters designed for emergency preparedness. It all depends on your budget and what you can improvise with what you have. A Berkey water filter is worth its weight in gold in an emergency. It can turn any wretched bilge drinkable. It will keep you alive long enough to plan and implement a long-term water gathering solution.
Manual water pumps
Plastic spray bottles of various size
You will have to improvise with the supplies you’ve stored and making your own laundry detergent or cleaning solution will require proper containers. A spray bottle will help you avoid wasting any liquid you store in it.
Unscented household bleach
Unscented bleach has many survival uses besides helping you purify water. You can also use it to sanitize your living area or to properly dispose of dead bodies if it comes to that.
Household cleaning products
Although you can stock up on pretty much all the cleaning products you can think of, you should also have a plan B. You can improvise various cleaning solutions with the items you store in your pantry.
Suggested reading: Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Hydrogen Peroxide
Anti-bacterial gels, wipes and sanitizers
These are also recommended if you plan to bug out. They are easy to carry and should last you for a long time if you know how to use them properly and avoid wasting them.
Get the ones available in pump dispensers as you can use them effectively in various situations. You will avoid wasting soap and the bottles can be reused afterward.
Toilet paper, paper towels and napkins
Add a few Biffy bags for your bug out bags as well since these small packs contain everything you need to take care of your smelly business. These personal portable disposable toilets are preferred by many campers.
N95 face masks and plastic gloves
These will be used when disposing of human waste or handling hazardous materials. You can use them to protect your hand and face when making soap or other homemade detergents
Heavy duty garbage bags in various sizes
Unfortunately, most of you stuff will become junk after a disaster. Since there will be a lot of cleaning taking place, you need heavy duty garbage bags that are up for the work. The good part of keeping these items is that you can improvise various uses for them. You can make a rain poncho, a ground tarp and even primitive shelters.
Rope, Duct tape and zip ties
Keeping things in place and out of reach is hard to do without these items. It gets even more complicated in the wilderness where you have to deal with snooping animals. These three items are part of every disaster kit and for good reason. You can improvise all sorts of uses for them and you’re limited only by your imagination.
Personal Hygiene items
In a scenario where drugstores are out of the picture, the period can become a real issue for a woman. This is why is better to be well prepared for your period. You should know how to deal with this situation during an emergency scenario.
Related reading: Prepping For Your Period – A Sensitive Topic For Preppers
Diapers and feminine napkins
Pre-moistened wash and baby wipes
I have a pack of baby wipes in my backpack and I’ve used these on various occasions during my camping trips. You can use them to stay clean while on the move, but also to clean various items without leaving a footprint.
Cat litter, sand or sawdust
Your pets have certain needs and you shouldn’t have to clean up after them. Some people prefer to keep cat litter at hand while others used sawdust. These are good options if your pets can’t do their business outside.
Disposable plastic utensils and aluminum pans
These disposables are a smart choice for eating and drinking when there is no electricity or running water. Although it will generate more garbage, it will help you conserve the remaining water for other needs.
Every disaster may bring an aftermath which is hard to predict. Since you can’t see the future, you should at least plan how you are going to stay healthy and clean in an environment without running water and flushing toilets. You have to be able to take care of your own needs before help arrives. Think about both short-term and long-term needs and make sanitation and hygiene a survival priority.